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Voting Rights PDF
 

Letter to the Editor

alt March 5 – 11, 2010

Sir,
British Consul Steve Jones’ opinion piece two weeks ago (SUR in English, 19 February 2010) encouraging British ex-pats to exercise their rights to a postal or proxy  vote in the coming UK General Election has certainly whipped up a little storm of controversy.  In addition to my opinion piece on the matter printed last week, “Voting Rights – UK or Spain?” (26 February), Max Newman expressed similar concerns on the Letters Page.
What bothered me most about last week’s edition, however, was the article by George Prior entitled “Vote by expats can swing Election results”.   Unwittingly, it supports rather brilliantly my argument, that expats should have the vote in national elections here in Spain, and NOT in the UK.
Apart from being a blatant piece of Tory propaganda - out of place surely in an independent newspaper - the article actually backfires.  In it, three quotes from Michael Taylor, Chairman of Conservatives Abroad in Benalmádena, Fuengirola and Mijas, show just how inappropriate the argument is.  Mr Taylor states:
“ [Ex-pats voting] can ultimately swing the outcome for some marginal seats.”
“So .... even when living in another country you can affect politics in Britain.”
“By voting you have your say and you help shape Britain”.
I would simply ask the following question:  If we are resident in Spain, what right have we got to interfere with the outcome of elections in the UK? 
Better that we show an interest in our adopted country, get involved in Spanish politics and lobby for a vote in Spain so that we can have a say in what affects our lives here on a daily basis.

Paul Whitelock, Ronda